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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Mar 31, 2008 1:18 PM Flag

    DJ OIL FUTURES: Nymex Crude Drops Amid Commodity Selloff

    DJ OIL FUTURES: Nymex Crude Drops Amid Commodity Selloff

    Mar 31, 2008 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex) -- -- By Gregory Meyer

    NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--Crude oil futures U-turned into a steep drop Monday, joining other several commodities in an aggressive selloff.

    Analysts struggled to pinpoint an immediate explanation behind the dive, but said the modestly stronger dollar may have helped drive oil prices down.

    Light, sweet crude for May delivery was recently down $3.04, or 2.9%, at $102.58 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Nymex crude earlier fell as low as $101.59 a barrel.

    Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange had fallen $2.57 to $101.20 a barrel.

    "You've the got the whole commodity sector to the downside," said Scott Meyers, senior trading analyst at Pioneer Futures in New York. "Wheat came down, soybeans came down, the softs have been weak, little by little the metals started to give way and then crude oil, which was hovering around unchanged, just broke."

    The euro was recently at $1.5801, off from an earlier intraday high of $1.5897. Meyers said the dollar's strengthening may have contributed to oil's fall.

    Commodity markets may also be reacting to concerns about an economic slowdown, which could undercut demand, said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Alaron Trading Corp. in Chicago.

    "People are starting to realize that oil isn't the best hedge against a slowing economy," Flynn said. "It seems like more air is being let out of the commodity bubble."

    Crude had fallen Friday after workers repaired a key Iraqi export pipeline damaged in a bomb blast. On Monday, technical problems had halved oil exports from the southern Basra terminal to about 768,000 barrels a day from normal levels of about 1.6 million barrels a day, shipping agents told Dow Jones Newswires.

    April heating oil was down 4.01 cents, or 1.3%, to $3.0649 a gallon. April reformulated gasoline blendstock, or RBOB, was 9.05 cents, or 3.3% lower at $2.6265 a gallon. Both contracts expire Monday.

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